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Greg Rice

Spacebase DF-9: Voting Discussion Thread

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I hope this prototype evolves into an actual end product after the Amnesia fun - double fine doing an evolved Dwarf Fortress game would be freaking sweet.

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I'm very interested to see this project, since I've been waiting for a while for somebody to make "Dwarf Fortress except without all of the glaring problems." Up until now it's sort of been "Dwarf Fortress with updated graphics and a mouse interface but all the clunky non-user-friendly systems still in place with a fraction of the actual content."

Which brings me to my point--could you go into some detail on your plans for how the economy might work?

I felt a big part of what made Dwarf Fortress so engaging was how 1:1 the economy was. That is to say, instead of sending a dwarf to chop wood and that would bring back an abstracted 'lumber' value, he literally ran out, chopped a log, brought it back, and you eventually built something out of it. Granted, how you interacted with this process and how the resources was managed was less-than-optimal, but it really gave your fortress that great 'ant farm' feeling that I've rarely seen replicated in games.

Do you plan on there being very specific resources to manage like food, water, metal, electronics, power, what-have-you as per something like Dwarf Fortress or Tropico, or is there going to be some sort of unified credits resource that you do everything with like in say Kaloki X or Evil Genius?

And slightly related: how much micromanagement do you forsee in the base building? Do we place furniture individually as per Dwarf Fortress or is it more like SimTower where you place rooms and they're just there?

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The fact that you saw this issue: "Side view I’m less psyched about, just because it seems to compress a simulationally-critical / visual axis and makes characters blend together into crowds" makes me all the more confident in what this game is going to be :D

That said, I would still like to argue for the side view.

The scale of something like sim tower WOULDN'T work, so I completely agree with you on that point.

However, I was expecting this to be a space station with a relatively small crew/citizen count. Something along the lines of dwarf fortress's early game.

IF that is the case, and you won't have a space station with 40+ crew, then I still think a "Sim Ant" scale and perspective offers the most potential for it being "simply fun to watch".

I am tempted to draw you a mockup, but as I said up front, I am confident that what ever you make (even if it doesn't use the side perspective) will be amazing :D

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I love the idea, but seeing how long these kind of projects (Dwarf Fortress, Prison Architect) will be worked on and how far they are from the goals they've set on themselves, I have hard time seeing anything that impressive coming from it in two weeks of work. Even if "something interesting" is achieved and this comes a full project, it will likely lock many people to develop it forever. It seems like these kind of simulation games are never done.

My other issue is that this game doesn't feel that Double Fine-y. For me, Double Fine is about amazing, original ideas, funny writing and small games. It doesn't feel like the company that can make the massive scale simulation of every indie devs dream project a reality.

I know this is a weird reason not to like the project.

Anyway to sum it up, I ask: "How is Spacebase going to be Double Fine-y (or is that even a real thing)?"

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I love the idea, but seeing how long these kind of projects (Dwarf Fortress, Prison Architect) have been worked on and how far they are from the goals they've set on themselves, I have hard time seeing anything that impressive coming from it in two weeks of work. Even if "something interesting" is achieved and this comes a full project, it will likely lock many people to develop it forever. It seems like these kind of simulation games are never done.

My other issue is that this game doesn't feel that Double Fine-y. For me, Double Fine is about amazing, original ideas, funny writing and small games. It doesn't feel like the company that can make the massive scale simulation of every indie devs dream project a reality.

I know this is a weird reason not to like the project.

Anyway to sum it up, I ask: "How is Spacebase going to be Double Fine-y (or is that even a real thing)?"

Wow... GOOD point.

Really hope you can capture the double fine essence with the art and interaction on this... because that would make a game like this 100x better!

As for it being in development for forever if it builds up steam... that wouldn't be so bad, as long as you keep the team small :)

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This game sounds cool also. I get all the Dwarf Fortress comments, but am I the only one that thought about that early Xbox Live Arcade game Outpost Kaloki X. This sounds like that but just expanded out with base building. Also shows the lack of these types of games on XBLA. Man a lot of these pitches sound awesome and hope that all of them can be built eventually.

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Per DaveG's request:

SCI-FI DWARF FORTRESS

SCI-FI DWARF FORTRESS

SCI-FI DWARF FORTRESS

SERIOUSLY.

I want to see a major gaming company make as in-depth of a game as Dwarf Fortress!

I love this idea! When I saw the initial video advertising Amnesia Fortnight, this game stuck out to me as the best idea.

How complex do you plan on making the game? What hazards will exist for the player?

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Is there any chance, that the prototypes will go any further than just that? a prototype, and be another final project, even if its just a small indie game..

Its such a shame when a good prototype never becomes anything else than a prototype.

Like over at mojang they made this hilarious game, that was programmed in a charity event like this, it was a ton of fun, sadly it never become more than that, a huge shame considering it had potential.

Here is the link

IT was Catacomb Snatch

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Is there any chance, that the prototypes will go any further than just that? a prototype, and be another final project, even if its just a small indie game..

Its such a shame when a good prototype never becomes anything else than a prototype.

Like over at mojang they made this hilarious game, that was programmed in a charity event like this, it was a ton of fun, sadly it never become more than that, a huge shame considering it had potential.

Here is the link

IT was Catacomb Snatch

Yeah dude, that's what the whole thing is about! Costume quest was created out of an Amnesia Fortnight, as well as that Sesame Street game...Monster something.

They create the pitch, and if they get funding for the games, they'll make 'em. Previously they had to pitch it to publishers. They may try to do it with these ideas, or they'll try to do another kickstarter...or use some of the money they make on the Humble Bundle.

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I would love a space dwarf fortress, although I think the civilizations reactions to calamity are part in parcel to the DF idea, gotta have normal every day challenges and then your once in a blue moon undead werewolf goblin invasion.

Seems like this prototype is more tuned to people and less about infrastructure still its an interesting idea.

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Awesome Game Idea JP.

Now right of the bat, I am a fan of DF myself. However I totally understand that while the initial pitch sounds similar to DF in space, that does not mean it has to be DF in Space. This game should stand on its own legs.

However I strongly suggest you take some time and read a few of the interviews that Toady has done. There are some things he talks about when it comes to DF's origin and creation that may germinate some good ideas for your own take on this type of game.

here is the link to the Dwarf Fortress website where towards the bottom you can see links to a majority of his interviews.

http://www.bay12games.com/dwarves/links.html

For example in the latest interview with Roguelike Radio Tarn said something along the lines of how the base building mode in DF was to act like a high score function. Every base was doomed to die eventually, but after it died you could explore it via the adventure mode in DF.

That may sound simple, but this complex and awesome idea may not be evident on the surface to those who just play DF for a bit.

Like I said, awesome pitch JP. You would benefit greatly from just spending a day doing some research on games similar to your pitch. I look forward to what you and Double Fine could do with your own addition to this genre.

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Yeah dude, that's what the whole thing is about! Costume quest was created out of an Amnesia Fortnight, as well as that Sesame Street game...Monster something.

Also Stacking, Middle Manager of Justice, Iron Brigade, and Brazen!

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For some reason the art reminded me of Gundam

the older movies i think.

Liking the game idea, voted.

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I keep envisioning this as a Babylon 5 simulator, particularly that episode where Ivanova has to deal with the Drazi splitting up into Green and Purple parties and having factional infighting. Really hope it goes through.

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I must say as someone who is studying AI, the whole living society thing is what attracts me.

I hope you will give a good look of how the system is going to work.

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This idea sounds cool!

I'm really looking forward to seeing your team's approach to the AI logic - I've done a bit of NPC behaviour modelling in the past and have found it really difficult to find the right parameters for the AI personalities, and the right level of simulation - do you use basic physiological parameters such as "hunger", "sleep" and "stress" or will you head into the fuzzier territory of feelings like "love" and "fear"? What tends to trip me up is the constant temptation to model the simulation one level deeper, and end up creating infinite work for myself.

Yes, this is something I've thought about a lot as well. Abstractions are only useful if they help AIs make more coherent or interesting decisions. "Love" would not be a useful abstraction, but "desire to work" would be, as it stands in for a cause-and-effect reasoning that would be pointless to model (eg "I need food, but I need money to buy food, so I should work to earn money.")

And yes, the temptation to model things progressively more deeply is a scary trap. I think the tiny scope of an AF project will help banish that right out of the gate. :]

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I love the idea, but seeing how long these kind of projects (Dwarf Fortress, Prison Architect) will be worked on and how far they are from the goals they've set on themselves, I have hard time seeing anything that impressive coming from it in two weeks of work. Even if "something interesting" is achieved and this comes a full project, it will likely lock many people to develop it forever. It seems like these kind of simulation games are never done.

Thank you for your honest skepticism... it is frankly a relief to hear!

See my earlier post about how much we'll be able to do in 2 weeks. People are voting on the potential of the idea, and I'm going to work for the best ratio of actual interest to potential possible, within these humble constraints.

If Spacebase becomes a full-on Double Fine project - and this is a huge IF whose particulars and likelihood rest within the mind of one man - my plan would be that, after an initial release with 4-6 people, it would only require myself, 1 programmer, and 1 artist to maintain and release updates. I've thought about this a lot; Spacebase was actually a pitch I was preparing before this AF opportunity even came up, and I wanted to work out a version of it that made sense for Double Fine as an ongoing, slow-burn project. If you can't imagine this sort of game being developed with that kind of overhead, think smaller - Dwarf Fortress is basically one guy, focusing entirely on programming and simulation design. I'm not a crazy math/sim programmer like Tarn, so I'd need a leg up there. Plus we want to have non-ASCII art, so that's an artist.

My other issue is that this game doesn't feel that Double Fine-y. For me, Double Fine is about amazing, original ideas, funny writing and small games. It doesn't feel like the company that can make the massive scale simulation of every indie devs dream project a reality.

I know this is a weird reason not to like the project.

Anyway to sum it up, I ask: "How is Spacebase going to be Double Fine-y (or is that even a real thing)?"

Great question! Again, I want to start by thinking small and humble. Better production values and UI than Dwarf, but not even a fraction as "big" as the Sims. Fancier graphics don't really help a game like that.

As for the elusive Double-Fineyness, if your definition of Double Finey involves funny cutscenes with witty dialog, yes I don't think it will have that. There are many other vectors for originality and humor - and even writing - in a sim game though, and I think we will be able to inject that by virtue of the people who will be working on it and the overall absurdity of the premise. Take the "Mad Libs" style of text description that Dwarf Fortress uses... there is a real humor to it that Tarn could have "fixed" if he hadn't accepted it part of the game's charm. "This engraving depicts a Dwarf and some Dwarves. The Dwarf is standing with the Dwarves." Also, guys making murals about cheese because cheese is their favorite thing... classic!

I don't really want to promise anything specific for Spacebase here, because promising you're going to be funny is the least funny and most doomed endeavor I can imagine. :]

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Spacebase is something I almost imagine being a constantly evolving project even after its 'official launch.' It would be great to have it burning in the background for many years during whatever else double-fine is doing.

Heck, I could even see the prototype itself being the thing that just keeps evolving and never stopping.

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Worrying that many people are jumping to Startopia for comparison. It's a fun game and I love it, but Startopia and Spacebase are based on two different core plays: business micromanagement and social simulation. Everyone expecting Startopia is going to experience at least some disappointment. Which hopefully some has been mitigated by me obnoxiously bolding the previous sentence. Weeee

My other issue is that this game doesn't feel that Double Fine-y. For me, Double Fine is about amazing, original ideas, funny writing and small games.
What defines "Double Fine" was examined by Brad Muir in a GDC Talk about Amnesia Fortnight. Talking about Iron Brigade, Muir narrowed the Double Fine essence to (1) originality, (2) personality, and (3) characters. He also mentioned a running theme in Double Fine's games: friendship. If we go by those themes then I don't see anything preventing Spacebase from being Double Finey. Though I think this would be the first time that Double Fine hands the role of storyteller to the game, instead of the designer or the player. Most of Double Fine's games have their stories directed by the designer, with the player directing the stories in Happy Action Theatre and Kinect Party. I'm keen on seeing Double Fine's take on emergent storytelling.

Also Brütal Legend was not small.

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I absolutely love the title. It's very communicative, too, I mentioned just the title to a friend when giving the link and they already had the right general idea from the Dwarf Fortress and DS9 references built in.

Also now I want to play Sim Tower again.

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For what it's worth, as a Double Fine employee, I think it's important not to get too wrapped up in prescriptive notions of what a "Double Fine game" is or should be. I think that, simply by virtue of being developed in the Double Fine office, by Double Fine employees, surrounded by Double Fine culture, any game made by Double Fine will end up a "Double Fine game."

I'm sure some of my coworkers have slightly different perspectives on this, and come at it more from a standpoint of "How do we make this game a Double Fine game?" That's totally fine too--and most of them have been at DF longer than I have.

But either way, this is the value of Amnesia Fortnight--especially a public Amnesia Fortnight, which maybe promotes ideas that may not have been as obvious to DF as an entity in a private event. If it turns out that any of the winning ideas really aren't "Double Fine games," we'll find that out in a fairly low-risk environment. I don't think there's any worth in belaboring that question when we already have this whole process that will give us real tangible evidence. It's exciting!

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I hope this makes it. Out of all the others I seen this one has my attention, although the one were you gotta get out of the office because you pooped your pants sounds really entertaining. :lol:

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Is it safe to say this was inspired by Star Trek: Deep Space Nine?

Also, would the player be playing the role as the 'leader' on the station or some sort of 3rd person omniscient player control like a RTS?

Is there room for any sort of narrative at all or would the game be completely randomized and more about base building?

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I'm seriously considering making the AF prototype version only take place on a single layer of depth, even though I'd certainly want to have multi-story bases in a more full-on version. It would make pathfinding, UI, rendering, and content creation somewhat easier... the question is how much depth (literal and otherwise, ha) is lost in this tradeoff. Game development!

I wouldn't worry about that too much. Remember that the early versions of Dwarf Fortress were all on the one plane, and those 2d versions had enough nonliteral depth to spawn Boatmurdered. The Sims had only two layers in the first game, if memory serves, and we all know how that one exploded.

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Is it safe to say this was inspired by Star Trek: Deep Space Nine?

Also, would the player be playing the role as the 'leader' on the station or some sort of 3rd person omniscient player control like a RTS?

Is there room for any sort of narrative at all or would the game be completely randomized and more about base building?

Yes, Deep Space 9 is an inspiration. There's a three-way reference hidden in "DF-9": Deep Space Nine, Dwarf Fortress, and Double Fine.

The player takes the role of the base's overseer. You don't have a corporeal form to command or worry about, but when you start a new base you get to choose your name and a portrait that helps project a personality - are you a Picard, a Janeway, a HAL 9000, a Darth Vader, etc.

The game will have a player and simulation-driven narrative - the story of your specific base - rather than a script with traditional narrative structure. That said, there are probably lots of little places where writing can provide really valuable color, like "citizen thoughts", the names of objects and concepts in the universe, advertisements, etc. I can't promise any of those things will be in the prototype though!

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How much of it is about managing and expanding? Or to put it another way, is this going to be more like Creatures, The Sims or Theme Hospital?

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I'd like to know how much "space-stuff" will be in the simulation part. The questions I have are not targeted at the first version to be release, but rather at what the development team has in mind for later versions.

Will the space station have an atmosphere that can leak out and pull everything into space? Will there be large solar panels or anything similar? Will the base rely on supplies to be able to manufacture anything? What about space suits? :)

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Congratulations! You attracted a group of traveling voters to base "Prototype 1"!

(Event: +500 resources in all your bases, +1000 reputation)

I am glad your idea is about to make the top four!

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Is it safe to say this was inspired by Star Trek: Deep Space Nine?

Also, would the player be playing the role as the 'leader' on the station or some sort of 3rd person omniscient player control like a RTS?

Is there room for any sort of narrative at all or would the game be completely randomized and more about base building?

Yes, Deep Space 9 is an inspiration. There's a three-way reference hidden in "DF-9": Deep Space Nine, Dwarf Fortress, and Double Fine.

The player takes the role of the base's overseer. You don't have a corporeal form to command or worry about, but when you start a new base you get to choose your name and a portrait that helps project a personality - are you a Picard, a Janeway, a HAL 9000, a Darth Vader, etc.

The game will have a player and simulation-driven narrative - the story of your specific base - rather than a script with traditional narrative structure. That said, there are probably lots of little places where writing can provide really valuable color, like "citizen thoughts", the names of objects and concepts in the universe, advertisements, etc. I can't promise any of those things will be in the prototype though!

Thanks for the answering my questions! This is a game I'm definitely looking forward to.

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Grats with making the second place. I can't wait to see how this is going to develop

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